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Efacec accelerates digital jump of electrical power transformers with support from INEGI

17 June 2020
Efacec, a reference manufacturer in the electric power transformers market, aims to be one step ahead of tomorrows challenges and has teamed up with INEGI to idealize the type and configuration of the transformer of the future. The project, titled Transformer 4.0, kicks off this summer and also includes the participation of INESC TEC and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston, United States.

In a sector considered to be conservative in terms of innovation, "electrical power transformers are products whose basic components and manufacturing processes have changed little in recent decades". With the "advent of the digital paradigm and ‘energy 4.0’, however, the doors are opening to a profound change in the way these equipment will be produced and how they will operate”, says Luís Oliveira, responsible for the project at INEGI.

To draw the roadmap for this evolution and respond to the challenge launched by Efacec, INEGI will participate in the design of the components of the transformer of the future and is in charge of developing new manufacturing processes that will add value to the entire process.

Digitization and additive manufacturing are key concepts

Additive manufacturing, in particular, is one of the technologies targeted by the Institutes team, as it can be the ideal strategy for optimization with the aim of reducing material consumption and obtaining gains in terms of thermal and noise management, among other advantages.

In parallel, sensing and the application of industry 4.0 concepts will also be priorities, namely through the concept of digital twin, a virtual model of the physical system that allows the product to be monitored throughout its life cycle, to ensure intelligent monitoring of the service condition, and adopt preventive maintenance.

Going even further, through optimization tools and artificial intelligence, it will be possible to obtain important information for the design of future systems and to predict the systems response to different types of network disturbances.

"We believe that the simultaneous integration of these technologies will result in a more cost-effective product, which will reach the market faster, and will have greater efficiency and longevity”, explains the official. "This translates into new market opportunities and an increase in the companys business volume, so a more digital future will certainly be a more profitable future".

The Transformer 4.0 project is co-financed under the Portugal 2020 program and by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), and is expected to end in 2023.
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